The Italian food civil war between culinary purists and pioneers is one of the great battles of our time. But when the dust settles, who really wins?
Everyone knows Italians can and will breathe fire to disturb their popular recipes. Indeed, if you ever doubt the unity of a country that often seems completely fragmented, simply go to any social network page that displays “adaptations” of Italian cuisine, and you will discover solidarity. of a people you might never have thought possible. Their true feelings emerge, and the most tactful comments on the matter will sound something like “my ancestors will come out of their graves to haunt you.” They can even be specific: âEvery time I see recipes like this, an Italian grandmother dies. Â»The litigation tortellini-gate took this affront to another level: when the canons of Italian cuisine – like replacing pork with chicken in the classic Romagnolo pasta – intertwine with the foundations of political and religious beliefs, we are all collateral damage.
Italian cuisine and innovative ideas: a brave new world
Although Italians don’t like people to abuse their favorite recipes, like carbonara Where Pizza Margarita, some pioneering national chefs are trying to play with traditional cuisine. Among them, Valerio Braschi, a young chef from the province of Rimini, on the east coast of Italy in Emilia Romagna. He was put to the test during the popular program Masterchef Italy, winning the 2017 edition. Today, he owns 1978, an Italian restaurant in Rome incorporating refined techniques with classic recipes to create sophisticated culinary trends. At 23, he’s as popular on Instagram as he is celebrated by culinary authorities, and he makes no apologies for not embracing the strict interpretation of iconic dishes. Instead, he boldly challenges them and in doing so offers a glimpse into what may finally be the avant-garde of Italian cuisine.
First of all, happy hour
No Italian weekend can begin without the ubiquitous aperitif, where friends gather in lively bars and order cocktails, soft drinks, wine and spuntini (snacks). But Valerio Braschi wanted to do more with this idea; its offer is an unconventional non-alcoholic drink made from bitter eggplants. The slow roasted eggplants are cooled in a plastic bag, allowing the vegetable to release water that contains the essence of these complex flavors. When cooled, it adds Angostura, lime juice and soy sauce, which adds both acidity and that elusive umami that the kitchen shows as Chef like to mention. Served on ice, it is the drinkable version of the vegetable your grandmother assails you every summer, when her garden is full of melanzane. Of course, your grandmother never served him like that.
Later, an aperitif
Every old-fashioned Italian meal worthy of the name begins with a antipasti which will undoubtedly be eaten voraciously and without thinking about the many dishes still to follow. There’s a reason lunch lasts for hours in Italy, but Valerio Braschi starts it even earlier, with a toothpaste-like tube that instead of your grandfather’s Captain, is full of Bolognese lasagna. The idea came from memories of his childhood vacation from Braschi. According to the chef, waking up in the morning during those lazy days was always done in the hope of eating a bite of lasagna. So why not get straight to the point and make toothpaste with the same flavor?
And its squeezable tube filled with lasagna carry every bit of that fat and heavy nostalgia. For the initiated, the aperitif is no longer to present: a lasagna cream that you should put on an egg paste toothbrush. Of course, Braschi pays as much attention to the processing as to the flavor – after brushing your teeth with it. lasagna, he gives you a mouthwash of Parmigiano to rustle and gargle. It’s fun, it’s cheeky, and it’s absolutely delicious.
Do not forget the carbonara
When the world thinks of Italian Pasta, their minds inevitably go to carbonara. It’s a sublime alchemy that makes eggs, hard cheese (Pecorino is better than Parmigiano), salt pork and pepper combine in an explosion of unique and distinctive flavor. If there is a more symbolic dish, both in national identity and in the best of Italian cuisine, you would be hard pressed to find it.
Corn Carbonara is also a calorie juggernaut, with almost 450 kcal in just 100 grams of the dish. It is by no means for the faint of heart. Valerio Braschi proposed a solution: if carbonara is so heavy at to eat, it will be infinitely easier to to drink. His carbonara-drinking is not only easier on the stomach, it is also calorie-free and alcohol-free. Of course, you’ll probably have a hard time recreating this one at home, as the recipe requires a slow process of distilling a mixture of sabayon, Pecorino, black pepper broth and salted pork cream.
Can Italy make food (gasp!) amusing?
More and more chefs are looking for ways to experience food in Italy, building on the work that people like Massimo Bottura started when he started playing with traditional recipes and memorabilia from her youth. Many try to innovate while remaining true to the custom, embracing the mantra that they can change the outcome without changing the ingredients. But that does involve creativity and curiosity, and not a bit of humor. Italians tend to take their food very seriously, and they imbue it with the kind of sacred reverence that is normally reserved for religious practices or football matches.
Maybe it’s time to have fun with our food, to stop acting like every tweak or twist is somehow going to bring down the nation and anger our ancestors. This is why we should give credit to Valerio Braschi, whose creations can be a little weird but also challenge us to try something different and laugh a little about it. After all, food is not just about survival. It’s about sharing something, maybe even something new, reserving our judgment for things that really deserve it. Like football.
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